Ride on

Chalk up another one for Durango in the national zines. National Geographic named our enclave among “America’s 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns” in its May issue.

“To foster authentic bike culture, a town needs more than just high quality trails,” Tess Weaver Strokes (either a very clever pen name or a happy coincidence) wrote in the story’s intro. “These 20 mountain bike hamlets around the country (in no particular order) offer bucket-list rides, new trail development, a variety of outdoor recreation, and a fun, bike-friendly vibe.”

Durango was noted for its prime location nestled between mountains and high desert, and its “near-perfect climate” which lends to an almost never-ending biking season. It also earned points for its wide variety of trails, easy access ("think two-hour loops leaving downtown in all four directions”) and a history of breeding elite cyclists. It went on to list legendary “local” riders (a few of whom may no longer qualify, but why split hairs?) as Ned Overend, Juli Furtado, Myles Rockwell and Tom Danielson.

From the rock-free Meadow Loop in Horse Gulch to the technical downhill of Haflin Creek (which is referred to as a “shuttle run”) the trail options in our “cycling hotbed” run the gamut, the story expounds. There is also a shout out to the Hermosa Creek Trail, Animas River Trail, Devo and the Fort Lewis College cycling program. All this and a “youthful vibrancy, cultural offerings, and a great restaurant/brewery/coffee shop scene.”

Other towns listed include no-brainers like Moab, Crested Butte and Aspen, as well as a few surprises: Louisville, Ky., or Duluth, anyone?